I actually planed spending two days with Auntie Deborah but I ended up spending one week.
Auntie Deborah has four Kids through Caesarian sessions; she has three girls and a boy. Her Car dealer husband wants more male children, Auntie’s doctor had warned her against another pregnancy since she could not deliver her children naturally, and consequently the husband was threatening to marry a second wife. That was the scenario I met in Lagos. I warned my sister against another pregnancy but she said she would rather conceive and bear the husband another son instead of the man to marry another woman, I told her that she already had both sexes of children, what if she takes in again and it is a girl? All efforts to make her see reason fell on deaf ears that I had no choice but to call Baba and tell him that his daughter was contemplating suicide.
Baba was in Lagos the next day in the company of Akin and the DPO of the lekki-Ajah Police station, the man was in plain clothes but has his pistol tucked beneath his shirt.
Immediately he entered the gate, Baba ignored all the greetings and summoned every one to the sitting room. There he bore his mind out to all.
Look! Josiah or whatever your name is! If anything happens to my daughter, I will kill you! I swear by Ogun the god of iron! I will shoot you accidentally! Bet with me! Bet nah! Uncle Josiah shifted away from Baba as he approached his hand outstretched for the bet. I was a police man and I have killed criminals like you in the course of my career!
Haba Baba! Kilode na ! Uncle Josiah protested.
You are pushing my daughter to have another baby abi ? Even after the doctors have advised against it! After four operations? Ha! Josiah! O fe pa mil’omo! Baba was talking on top of his voice. You want her to die so that you can bring in your concubine abi ? Look! I have investigated you before coming here! Bring the woman home! Marry her and let her give you all the sons in this world but I promise you one thing, you and your stupid wife here! The day I hear that she is pregnant mistakenly, ha ha ha, Sango will bath with your blood! Bet with me! I have brought the Police as a witness today! Baba went on venting his anger while my Sister was crying.
You are there crying! Baba faced Auntie; can’t you read between the lines? Can’t you see the hand writing on the wall? Didn’t you have a male child for him? Are these not his children? Baba pointed at the kids in the sitting room as they surrounded their weeping mother.
See their heads like their fathers! Yet he says he needs more boys! Don’t worry, you will get more boys! But not from Deborah!
Excuse me sir! Sir please let me explain things to you! Uncle Josiah was raising his fingers to be heard.
Okay speak! Baba said and paused
Sir, I did not force her o! It was her that said she wanted to give it another try because I said I was going to marry another woman to give me more sons! He said. Baba, the truth is that I need more sons, at least two more! A man of my stature should not have just one heir! I have worked too hard that what I have is too much for only one boy!
Ye! Ye! Ye! Baba screamed jumping on one foot. I was shocked but I know Baba with his drama. So all these ones are not Children? Simply because they are girls abi ? Ha! May they use you to sacrifice to Ogun instead of a dog for you are not better than a dog! Look at Josiah o! Look at Josiah talking of stature! Baba was prancing about the suiting gesticulating as he spoke on top of his voice.
You are a very wicked fellow this Josiah! And you! Deborah, are a very foolish woman! This man wants you dead! And when you die, he will bring in his concubine. No one will blame him then, we will all blame you for not heeding your doctor’s advice! My daughter let him marry ten more women if he likes! Thank God for the ones he has given you and live your life to the fullest! Don’t allow another woman to come in and maltreat your children when you have gone! If you are pushed to the wall in this house, my dear come back home! Or look for another house and start afresh if you do not want to leave Lagos! I am there for you and you know it! Nonsense!
The Police DPO went close to Uncle Josiah and started talking to him but Baba’s voice would not let us hear what he was telling him.
Baba interrupted: is it not this same boy who had only a pair of jumper trousers and rubber slippers when he married you? He was talking to Auntie Deborah, was it not after your third child that you people came and paid your bride price and he married you properly? Was it not me that introduced him into the ‘faya wo’ smuggling business at Ilorin? The first set of cars he smuggled into this town was by my assistance! I financed it Deborah! Is it true or false? He asked.
Baba faced Uncle Josiah: so now you have stature abi? And your stature needs sons abi? Ha ha ha! Oloshi olori buruku! Koni da fun stature!
Look Deborah! If I hear that you are pregnant again for this big-headed idiot ehn? I will kill him and then disown you before you die! I will not bury any of my children! Lailai! Look at his head like Olumo rock! No woman can deliver a child that looks like him normally! All the children are having his head shape and that is why you could not push them out naturally! The heads of your babies alone weighs half of their entire body weight! Olori nla! Akin! DPO! Let’s leave this stupid house joor! Baba marched out with his entourage.
I quickly ran inside and carried my bag and joined Baba without saying good-bye to my host of one week. We dropped the DPO at his office; Baba gave him an envelope and spent about ten minutes with him talking. Akin drove us back home.
I was shuttling between our farms just to please Baba and make him happy that I was taking charge of the agro allied companies.
Baba was also visiting us intermittently during the year 1999 at Ife. In the year 2000, I rounded up my NYSC programme and came back fully to the west to think of what next to do. My wife was in her fifth year in school, Gbadebo was already in second year and Tunde in JSS 2, My dogs have turned to giant dogs that keeps neighbours awake when they start barking at night. Whenever I walked them through the streets of Ife, children follow me about while other Bingo dogs scurry away with tail tucked between their legs. I lock them up during the day and let them loose at night.
Yemisi and I started building our own house along the University road Ife; it was a block of two flats separated by a common wall. Yemisi did not know that the second flat was her Hospital to be.
On the 3rd day of August 2000 Baba paid us a visit at Ife, he drove himself. Akin was not around as he went for a Cocoa dealers association conference in Accra Ghana. Akin was the biggest Cocoa dealer in Ekiti state.
Baba came with a keg of herbs for my wife.
My dear wife! He said after all greetings and pleasantries. This herb is from the best ‘Iya elewe omo’ in our village. It is very potent! Take a cup at night before going to bed and first thing early in the morning! Anything blocking your womb from conceiving will be washed away in one week!
Jesu Christi o! I exclaimed; haba Baba!
Kilode? What is the matter? He asked me looking surprised
What is this nah? I asked irritated by his encroaching attitude.
What is what? He fired back.
Yemisi immediately started to cry
Baba you see now? You see what you have done? I asked angrily
Ha! What did I do nah? He asked looking exasperated; I am only acting as a concerned father nah! He said; you have been married for close to two years now without any sign of pregnancy! Kilode? I should sit down without doing anything? He looked sad.
Yemisi got up and left our presence in tears
Baba we are okay!
No! No! You are not okay! Else you should be getting ready for your second baby by now! You people are still very young!
Oh my God! I said sadly; I looked at him sternly; Baba I will run from you o! I will just relocate to the east and change my phone number! Are you a woman? This is what a woman should be doing nah!
My dear! He said: I am a man as well as a woman! My wife died over thirty years ago and I single-handedly took care of your sisters until they all got married. When they were having similar issues in their marriages it was my call to help out and I did!! He continued; I did not come here to stay, I simply came to help.
Baba! My wife is a medical doctor! I said
Medical student! He corrected.
Okay! Yes medical student! I concurred; but we have our own plans. We are not ready now; my wife is still in school!
Oh! Why did you think I wanted you to marry and settle down quickly? Do you even know your own age now? You are above thirty! Or you want me to die before you start having children?
Daddy at least you should have discussed with me privately before spilling everything out before her like this nah!
No! No! No! That is not my style! I don’t indulge in gossip! That would be gossiping! He said
Yes ke! I don’t do hide and seek games even as a child. I have been and always will be very blunt. I did not come to stay, I am going back home now, I will leave the herbs with you. When your wife finishes shedding her tears ensure she starts taking them today and if you like, pour it away after I have gone, I will be back in three weeks to know how far. He stood up and left my house.
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That was when I made up my mind to relocate and leave familiar environment. I started looking for a job. I went through the internet and Tuesday Guardian newspapers applying for jobs and before long I started getting invitations for examinations and interviews, this took me severally to Lagos and I stayed in the house of Auntie Deborah.
The new wife of the husband gave birth to a set of twin girls through Caesarian operation. The woman almost died during child-birth. Auntie Deborah has a fabric shop at the ‘Eko Idumota’ market. My sister was always very happy whenever I visit her house; she said I saved her life for telling Baba about her plans.
I got job offers from Nigerian breweries Plc and Diamond Bank at the same time so I opted for the Breweries partly because of my love for Gulder beer and the fact that it was an engineering job.
I resumed at the company’s technical training school at Ibadan breweries on 15th of November 2000. I was accommodated at the company’s guest house inside the Brewery, my feeding and laundry was free for six months. I changed my SIM card because of Baba and Yemisi’s mother’s incessant calls about Yemisi and pregnancy.
I had gone to visit the Adegoke’s on my resumption an Ibadan breweries to intimate them of my employment, everything went well until Yemisi’s family started singing Baba’s tone.
It was time to start thinking about a child after all. Yemisi was twenty three years old and rounding up her fifth year while I was already thirty one years old.
To be continued